Many years ago, Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber asked that this photo be used as part of his obituary. It reflects his connection to the land and him walking into the light. (Courtesy photo)

Services for Bishop Gerber Monday and Tuesday
Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber, the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Wichita died Saturday, Sept. 29, in Wichita. He was 87.
He was bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City from 1976 to 1982, when he was named the ordinary of the Diocese of Wichita. Bishop Gerber retired in 2001.
Open-casket viewing will be available after the noon Mass Monday, Oct. 8, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. Viewing begins at 1:30 p.m. and concludes at 6 p.m. An all-night vigil begins with solemn vespers at 6:30 p.m. A rosary will be prayed at 8:30 p.m. Viewing and visitation will be possible until 9 a.m. Tuesday.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Cathedral. Interment will be at 2:30 p.m. at Ascension Cemetery in Wichita.

Born in Kingman
Eugene John Gerber was born at a hospital in Kingman, Kansas, on April 30, 1931, to Cornelius and Lena Tiesmeyer Gerber. They lived on a farm at Waterloo about 10 miles east of Kingman. He was the fourth of seven children.
Two days after his birth, on May 1, Eugene was taken to St. Louis Church in Waterloo, where Father Bernard Garmann baptized him.
He graduated from St. Louis School in Waterloo, a school staffed by Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. Eugene began high school studies in the fall of 1945 at Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri. As the result of a football injury, he returned home and finished his high school education at Kingman High School where he graduated in 1949.

First studied at Conception
After a year at Wichita University, he began studies for the priesthood at Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri, and continued at St. Thomas Seminary in Denver. He was ordained on May 19, 1959, at St. Patrick Church in Kingman by Bishop Mark K. Carroll.
He served St. Anne and Church of the Magdalen parishes in Wichita before being named vice chancellor in 1961. Father Gerber taught religion at Mt. Carmel Academy from 1961 to 1963 when he was named an assistant at Holy Savior Parish in Wichita.
He returned to the Chancery in 1963 as vice chancellor. The next year was named an assistant to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, Wichita, and as assistant to Bishop David M. Maloney. Father Gerber was once again named vice chancellor in 1965.

Worked for the Catholic Advance
He served as business manager for the Catholic Advance beginning in 1967 and was named an assistant at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception the next year.
In 1973 Father Gerber was named pastor of Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Wichita. He was named chancellor in 1975 while continuing as pastor of Blessed Sacrament.
Several months after his appointment as chancellor in 1975, Bishop David M. Maloney announced that Father Gerber had been assigned to post-graduate studies in theology and scripture at the St. Thomas Pontifical University in Rome, known as the Angelicum. Father Gerber returned to Wichita in February 1976, after receiving a licentiate in theology.

Named bishop of Dodge City
He was 45 years of age when he was appointed to serve as the third bishop of the Diocese of Dodge City. Bishop Gerber was ordained to the episcopacy on Dec. 14, 1976, by Bishop David Maloney at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita. The following day, installation ceremonies were held in the Civic Center in Dodge City. Bishop Gerber was the first native of Kansas to lead the Dodge City diocese.
Named bishop of Wichita
On Nov. 23, 1982, after six years in Dodge City, Bishop Gerber was appointed to lead the Diocese of Wichita. He was installed Feb. 9, 1983, at Century II in Wichita.
Bishop Gerber is best known for his oversight of the stewardship way of life in the diocese, the establishment of The Lord’s Diner, a food ministry founded on Feb. 14, 2002, that has served nearly 5 million meals to the poor.